Everybody loves a winner, even when we pretend not to.
Sure, we say we root for the underdog. But deep down we love excellence, we love those who achieve great things.
So let’s give a shout-out to Gracie Figueroa, Alleida Martinez and Michael Morales.
Gracie and Alleida last weekend won their fourth individual state girls wrestling championships and finished their four-year high school careers undefeated as they led the Selma girls wrestling team to its third-straight state championship.
You heard right. State championship. Selma is the king (or queen?) of California high school girls wrestling — three times over.
Morales, meanwhile, is preparing for a trip to France to show his film, “Guardia de mi Hermano” (“My Brother’s Keeper”) at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in May.
A Selma High alum now studying at San Francisco State, Morales wrote, edited and produced the five-minute film and won the Jury Award at the Campus MovieQuest competition. That earned him an invitation to Cannes, the world’s most prestigious film festival.
To help defray his expenses for the trip to France, the Selma Arts Foundation is sponsoring a showing of “Guardia de mi Herman” on March 3 at the Selma Arts Center. Morales will be there to talk about his film and his trip to Cannes. Donations will be taken for his expenses.
The evening will begin with drinks and snacks at 6 p.m., followed by film screenings at 7 p.m. Ernie Palomino’s “My Trip In a ‘52 Ford” and a trailer for Jesus Gonzalez’s “Afuera de la Linea” (“Out of Bounds”) also will be shown. Question/answer sessions will follow the screenings.
Getting back to wrestling, the girl's team’s state title repeat continues Selma High’s recent excellence in winter sports. The boys wrestling team won the Sequoia/Sierra Valley title and was runner-up at the Central Section Masters. The Bears should be contenders at the state championships this weekend.
And by the time you read this, we might know whether the Bears basketball teams will be competing for Valley titles in the Central Section finals at Selland Arena this weekend.
The boy's team won the Division III championship last season after being runner-up in 2016. The Bears were moved up to D-II this season and seeded third for the playoffs.
The Selma High girls, which flirted with Valley championships a few years ago (two runner-up finishes), also were seeded third this year in D-III. They played Feb. 28 against Golden Valley in Bakersfield.
I said earlier that everybody loves a winner, but of course, that is not entirely true. At the professional level, once you dominate a sport lots of folks want to see you taken down a notch. Just ask the New England Patriots, right?
But our high school teams are different. They are our kids, our friends, and neighbors. They represent us, their success shines a light on our school and our city.
I have relatives in Southern California who know all about Selma High’s dominance in high school wrestling. And in May film industry folks from all over the world will find out about Michael Morales’s film.
So here’s a toast to Gracie, Alleida and Michael. You have made us proud.